The list of top players in the 2014 class was expanded from the top 25 to top 100 players nationally and there and plenty of South Carolina targets that dot the list. The Gamecocks have extended offers to 15 members of the top 100 thus far and have a good chance at landing some of the players in the class.
Offensive lineman Bentley Spain is the highest-ranked recruit in the 247Sports rankings that the Gamecocks have a great chance at landing during the 2014 recruiting cylce. He recently was a standout performer at the NFTC Charlotte, which helped vault him all the way to No. 17 in the rankings released on Tuesday afternoon.
The most highly-ranked player that the Gamecocks have a chance to land at this early stage is offensive lineman Bentley Spain (Charlotte, N.C./Providence), who currently favors both South Carolina and North Carolina. Spain visited South Carolina twice in April and has seen his list of offers grow to 10 in recent weeks.
Some of the biggest names in college football, like LSU, Michigan, and Florida, have extended an offer, but Spain cites his relationship with offensive line coach Shawn Elliott, the Southeastern Conference, and proximity to home as major factors in his interest in South Carolina.
Wide receiver Shaq Davidson (Gaffney/Gaffney) is another player that has South Carolina high on his list. The No. 49 prospect in the country and one of the best in the Palmetto State has the Gamecocks in his top two or three, despite the fact that South Carolina didn’t have success landing 2012 wide receiver Quinshad Davis. Davidson picked up an offer from the Gamecocks back in October and that offer list has grown to seven. The four-star prospect is also high on Georgia and North Carolina early in the process
Instate offensive lineman Donell Stanley (Latta/Latta) comes in at No. 64 on the list and the Latta High School will likely decide between the in-state schools. South Carolina and Clemson have the best shot with Stanley, but the four-star tackle is also very high on defending national champion Alabama.
Running back Derrell Scott (Havelock, N.C./Havelock) recently picked up an Ohio State offer but the Gamecocks currently hold an edge for the Tar Heel State product. Scott enters the rankings at No. 80 nationally and his teammate, Pharoh Cooper, just committed to South Carolina recently. Scott, who stands 5-foot-11 and 175 pounds, visited South Carolina for the Florida game last season and also came down for Junior Day on March 30.
One player who has seen his stock rise incredibly of late is outside linebacker Christian Miller (Columbia/Spring Valley), who comes in at No. 93 in the class of 2014 rankings. Miller, the son of former Gamecock linebacker Corey Miller, doesn’t have an offer yet but they’re coming sooner rather than later. Miller showed out at the NFTC Charlotte earlier this month and his recruiting is about to take off.
Defensive end Kendrick Hair will take a strong look at the Gamecocks since teammate Devin Washington committed to South Carolina as a member of the 2013 class
It’s unlikely that defensive end will be a big need in the 2014 class but one that South Carolina has set its sights on is No. 29 on the list Kendrick Hair (Orlando, Fla./Jones). South Carolina was one of the first schools to offer and new running backs coach Everette Sands is spearheading his recruitment.
South Carolina is one of seven offers for wide receiver Trevion Thompson (Durham, N.C./Hillside). Thompson is favoring Florida early in the process and he also holds tenders from schools such as Clemson and Ohio State, which are Nos. 2 and 3, respectively, on his current list. Thompson is ranked No. 39 nationally.
No. 53 on the list is cornerback D.J. Smith (Marietta, Ga./Walton), who is on the radar of quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus. The Gamecocks were the second school to offer right behind Nebraska and just ahead of Georgia. While defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward is known for his success in the Peach State, Mangus has also landed a handful of talented players from Georgia. Mangus is an alum of Walton High and was by the school earlier this spring.
No. 55 on the list, defensive end Garrett Dickerson (Oradell, N.J./Bergen Catholic), is in the area that Mangus is chiefly known for recruiting. Mangus landed quarterback Tanner McEvoy from Bergen Catholic and Dickerson is another player he’s set to recruit. Dickerson doesn’t have an offer yet, but Mangus plans to make a trip up to New Jersey again later during the evaluation period and could pull the trigger on an offer at that point. Mangus went by earlier during the evaluation period.
Another in-state stud that South Carolina has a chance with is outside linebacker and tight end K.C. Crosby (Bamberg/Bamberg-Ehrhardt). The Gamecocks will try to stay in the hunt for Crosby, but Alabama and Clemson are the two schools that are currently out in front for the player who claims around 40 offers.
Other players in the top 100 that South Carolina have offered but have little interest in the Gamecocks right now are: No. 1 defensive end Da’Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge); No. 3 cornerback Jabrill Peppers (Paramus, N.J./Paramus); No. 6 linebacker Kain Daub (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla/Nease); No. 14 linebacker Raekwon McMillian (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty); No. 11 offensive tackle Braden Smith (Olathe, Kan./Olathe); No. 20 cornerback Jalen Tabor (Washington, D.C./Friendship Academy); No. 93 running back Stanley Williams (Monroe, Ga./George Walton Academy).